3, Choose Fairtrade coffee and you’re also supporting farmers to fight the challenges they may face. These include the effects of a changing climate, low and unpredictable incomes and in some coffee-growing communities, there may not be enough food available for three to four months a year.
4. Being part of Fairtrade has meant better knowledge about protecting the local environment and the chance to plant other crops and buy livestock to put more food on the table.
5. Around 125 million people worldwide depend on coffee for their livelihoods. Coffee is the most valuable and widely traded tropical agricultural product and 25 million smallholder farmers produce 80% of the world’s coffee. But many of them fail to earn a reliable living from coffee.
With the sun well and truly popping its head out in the UK this week it makes us all want to chill in the sunshine but once that sun goes behind a cloud or disappears later in the day the chill can really be felt. After all it is still only March but I love being outside so I made myself a granny blanket during the winter ready for this day to arrive.
I wrote a post on this on Afternoon Tea4Two last year and wrote what inspired me to give it a go. “The knitted blanket is a glorious expression of any grandmother’s soul; it is the colours of her dreams woven in delicate and loving hands. She would sit in that old rocking chair, hands moving, brain at peace, and from those delicate fingers would come the blankets.” Reading that paragraph in a book I was reading really inspired me to give it a go.
I decided right from casting on the first stitch that I would knit six squares one after the other in different colours rather than individual squares. All my wool was double knitting and I chose a pair of needles in size 7 for a 9” square using garter stitch ( knitting every row) and casting on 35 stitches. I’m so pleased with the result I’m knitting another in black ( as I had lots of this wool). I then made lots of tassels with other bits of wool I still had.
Of course you don’t have to knit this blanket, you can also crochet it and there are lots of patterns you can download on Pinterest like this one below on Just B Crafty on Pinterest.
Knitting or crocheting is such a lovely way to pass some time by and you don’t need to be an expert to copy some of these patterns. I assure you I am not. Wool is accessible online so you have no need to wait until all the shops are open.
Do you know where granny blankets originated from? Well, Interweave wrote that a pattern for what is now called crochet granny square first appeared in print in 1897! Weldon’s Practical Needlework featured a pattern for the “Patchwork Square”, suggesting it is a good way to use up leftover yarn, and the patches can be sewed together into a blanket.
The Woman’s Day Book of Granny Squares (Fawcett, 1975), a collection of granny-based designs, notes that grannies have been around for “as long as anyone can remember… Making colorful afghans by joining small squares,” the book’s introduction states, “is one of the most traditional and American forms of crochet.” So strongly was this style of crochet identified with the United States that in Europe, say the book’s editors, it was called American crochet. They attribute the popularity of grannies to their portability, simplicity, and the fact that they’re excellent vehicles for using up scraps of yarn and for experimenting with color combinations.
And, they were called granny squares because granny’s crocheted them.
Knitting and Hygge are two words that belong together simply implying what Hygge is all about. As Meik Wiking – CEO of The Happiness Research Institute has said, “Hygge has been translated as everything from the art of creating intimacy to cosiness of the soul to taking pleasure from the presence of soothing things.”
If you haven’t learnt how to knit before then now is the time to do so. Knitting is back in fashion from knitting simple tea cosies to bed throws and even recycling old sweaters into new ones.
The web has an abundance of sites with some giving tutorials on how to knit and others giving you a choice of many free patterns to start your knitting.
Once we come out of lockdown I am sure the ever popular knitting groups will thrive again. A very popular one is called Stitch and Bitch and there is also a great book from Amazon at £10.99 Stitch ‘n Bitch: The Knitter’s Handbook – The Stitch ‘n Bitch Handbook by Debbie Stoller covers every aspect of knitting and the knitting-together lifestyle: the how-to, the when-to, the what-to and why-to. Writing with wit and attitude, Debbie Stoller explains why young women are taking up knitting in droves and covers everything you need to know to get your knit on – from the tools of the trade to casting on and binding off to getting fancy – all with step-by-step illustrated techniques. Then it’s time to pick up the sticks: at the heart of this book are forty stylish patterns that are as hip to wear as they are to knit, as good for beginners as they are for purly pros.
Another popular one is UK Hand Knitting where you all meet for a natter while knitting your favourite jumper. Just click on your area on their map to find your nearest group. Some great sites for knitters include The Daily Knitter where you can find lots of Free patterns and Knitting Help which has free tutorial videos to help you knit.
According to Wikipedia, Knitting is a method by which thread or yarn may be turned into cloth or other fine crafts. Knitted fabric consists of consecutive rows of loops, called stitches. As each row progresses, a new loop is pulled through an existing loop. The active stitches are held on a needle until another loop can be passed through them. This process eventually results in a final product, often a garment.
Knitting may be done by hand or by machine. There exist numerous styles and methods of hand knitting.
Different yarns and knitting needles may be used to achieve different end products by giving the final piece a different colour, texture, weight, and/or integrity. Using needles of varying shape and thickness as well as different varieties of yarn can also change the effect.
Yarnspirations sell Hygge yarn which is extremely soft and drapey, despite its quick-to-stitch bulky size. The base yarn is twisted with a fur end, which adds a lovely texture that is wonderful to work with, and snuggle up in! This gorgeous braided cable knit throw comes with a free knitting pattern. Just head to Yarnspirations website.
The Independant wrote that “There is an enormous amount of research showing that knitting has physical and mental health benefits, that it slows the onset of dementia, combats depression and distracts from chronic pain.” “In addition to its calming effects, knitting a quilt or a pair of mittens can distract from chronic pain – as focus is turned elsewhere. And the repetitive movements required to create a pattern release calming serotonin, which can lift moods and dull pain, according to the findings.”
A brilliant book if you are new to knitting is ‘The Complete Beginners Guide to Knitting: Everything you need to know to start to knit’, by Sian Brown, Lou Butt, and Janine le Cras on Amazon for £10 From lavish fashion trends to homemade gifts, add a hand-crafted touch to your garments, gifts and decorations. Start by choosing your yarn and needles before getting to grips with casting on, knitting, purling, ribbing and casting off again. Once you’ve mastered the essentials, you’ll put your newfound skills into practice with a range of creative project patterns that are perfect for newbie knitters. Get all the essential tools and materials before mastering simple stitches, Easy to follow patterns . Add a professional finish to your projects with pockets, hems, buttons and more. Refine your knitting skills while creating great gifts, garments and decorations. So pick up your needles today, and you’ll be an expert in no time at all!